capsule review

d2 Quadra Hard Drive 500GB

The LaCie d2 Quadra Hard Drive 500GB has the attractive, sturdy aluminum housing that’s common to the d2 series, and it can operate either horizontally or vertically, thanks to its detachable stand. The power switch on the back of the drive has three positions: On, Auto, and Off; at the Auto setting, the drive spins down when it’s not in use—thus saving power. On the drive’s front is an activity light that doubles as a programmable shortcut button, which you might want to use for initiating a backup sequence with the bundled software, EMC’s Retrospect Express. However, neither this button nor the Auto setting functions when the drive is in eSATA (external SATA) mode.

Even though the drive has four ports, USB 2.0, FireWire 400, FireWire 800, and eSATA, the back panel is still spacious enough to feature a full-size USB connector, which makes connecting the drive easy. It also has an antitheft security port. The included 13.4-ounce AC power adapter is a bit heavier than the adapters of some other drives Macworld has tested recently.

Setting up the drive is as simple as attaching it to your Mac via one of the four ports. Since Macs don’t currently have dedicated eSATA ports, using eSATA requires purchasing an eSATA expansion card appropriate for your Mac. (LaCie sells several eSATA cards on its Web site.)

In operation, the drive was quiet, and I didn’t notice very much noise from either the integrated fan or the hard-drive mechanism.

timed trials

Copy 1GB File via FireWire 800 0:32
Copy 1GB File via eSATA 0:29
Duplicate 1GB File via FireWire 800 0:44
Duplicate 1GB File via eSATA 0:42
Low-Memory Adobe Photoshop CS Test 1:18

Scale = Minutes: Seconds

How We Tested: We ran all tests with the drive connected to a dual-2.5GHz Power Mac G5 with Mac OS X 10.4.8 installed and 1GB of RAM. We tested the drive using FireWire 800 and eSATA. We copied a folder containing 1GB of data from our Mac’s hard drive to the external hard drive to test the drive’s write speed. We then duplicated that file on the external drive to test both read and write speeds. We also used the drive as a scratch disk when running our low-memory Adobe Photoshop CS test. This test is a set of four tasks performed on a 150MB file, with Photoshop’s memory set to 25 percent.—Macworld Lab testing by James Galbraith and Jerry Jung

specifications

Price per Gigabyte $0.58
Connectors eSATA, FireWire 400, FireWire 800 (2), USB 2.0
Rotational Speed 7,200 rpm
Other Capacities None

Macworld’s buying advice

If you’re looking to step up to a half-terabyte of storage, consider the d2 Quadra Hard Drive 500GB. Its features, performance, superior software bundle, and attractive styling make it an outstanding all-around choice.

[ Jeffy K. Milstead is a former Macworld Lab analyst and a writer living in San Francisco. ]

d2 Quadra Hard Drive 500GB
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